This weeks poem is from Sophie Hannah. Sophie has published five bestselling collections and this poem is taken from the collection; Selected Poems, published 2006. I think we all have a pessimist in our lives and this made me giggle. This one’s for you Mum!
Pessimism for Beginners
When you're waiting for someone to email,
When you're waiting for someone to call -
Young or old, gay or straight, male or female -
Don't assume that they're busy, that's all.
Don't conclude that their letter went missing
Or they must be away for a while;
Think instead that they're cursing and hissing -
They've decided you're venal and vile,
That your eyes should be pecked out by an eagle.
Oh to bash in your head with a stone!
But since this is fairly illegal
They've no choice but to leave you alone.
Be they friend, parent, sibling or lover
Or your most stalwart colleague at work,
Don't pursue them. You'll only discover
That your once-irresistible quirk
Is no longer appealing. Far from it.
Everything you are and you do
Makes them spatter their basin with vomit.
They loathe Hitler and herpes and you.
Once you take this on board, life gets better.
You give no one your hopes to destroy.
The most cursory phone call or letter
Makes you pickle your heart in pure joy.
It's so different from what you expected!
They do not want to gouge out your eyes!
You feel neither abused nor rejected -
What a stunning and perfect surprise.
This approach I'm endorsing will net you
A small portion of boundless delight.
Keep believing the world's out to get you.
Now and then you might not be proved right.
This week’s poem is a day early as it is National Poetry Day today. If you don’t normally read poems you could start today and I think this lovely poem from Ellen Phethean is a good place to start. Ellen was a featured poet with the Read Regional campaign last year which is where I came across her. Her poems feature childhood and family life as well as the cultural landscape of Newcastle upon Tyne and this poem should really resonate with any parents.
Eating her Children
Her babies were milky puddings,
delicate as junket, not quite set,
messy possets that she coddled, rolled
on her tongue, licking and sucking,
wanting it to last.
Toddlers were finger food, currant-dotted
hot cross buns, eaten on the hoof, at a run,
walloped down. Only after
did she regret
She ate her ten year old for breakfast
one sunny morning, a golden croissant,
smelling warm, buttery crisp,
his own perfect curl,
she bit greedily.
Her eldest went off: sharp as anchovies,
tough as liquorice stick, a bitter unripe olive.
She had to spit him out, go hungry,
knowing some other mouth
would find him.
This weeks’ poem is taken from Selected Poems by W.H. Auden.
This lunar beauty
Has no history
Is complete and early;
If beauty later
Bear any feature
It had a lover
And is another.
This like a dream
Keeps another time
And daytime is
The loss of this;
For time is inches
And the heart's changes
Where ghost has haunted
Lost and wanted.
But this was never
A ghost's endeavour
Nor finished this,
Was ghost at ease;
And till it pass
Love shall not near
The sweetness here
Nor sorrow take
His endless look.